Tattoos have been a part of Western culture for thousands of years, their indelible colors and designs defining status and marking ritual passages.
Tattooing gained broad popularity in America in the last decades of the nineteenth century, first as spectacle, then as a novel commodity that anyone could acquire. The growth of an urban working class, two world wars, and the invention of the electric tattooing machine drove tattooing into mainstream American culture. The near completion of that process is evident today in the widespread presence of “ink” among us all.
Loud, Naked, & in Three Colors traces the popularization of tattooing in Boston through the stories, “flash” art, memorabilia, and ephemera of the city’s leading tattoo pioneers. These adventurous, enterprising men and women rode waves of social, economic, and political change—defying social norms at every turn—to make a new kind of living as tattooed performers and artists.
Visit the exhibition at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Massachusetts from June 10 to October 30.